STAFF and customers at a unique cafe in York got a real treat when a TV star dropped in for a hot chocolate!

The Rev Canon Kate Bottley, regular presenter of the BBC's Songs of Praise as well as having appeared on Gogglebox, Celebrity Mastermind and Celebrity MasterChef, popped in to one of York's newest cafes while in York yesterday.

Kate, who also presents religious shows on Radio 2, enjoyed a hot chocolate - one of the specialities on the menu at Chocolate & Co, the new cafe in Lowther Street, The Groves.

As previously reported in The Press, the cafe was set up by York entrepreneur Linda Barrie, of York-based confectioners Choc Affair, as a not-for-profit business dedicated to giving people a second chance and employs ex-addicts and former offenders.

Following her visit, Kate immediately raved about the cafe on her Instagram account to her 113,000 followers.

Gazette & Herald: Kate's post on Instagram about her visit to Chocolate & CoKate's post on Instagram about her visit to Chocolate & Co

Next to a photo of the distinctive orange exterior of Chocolate & Co Kate wrote: "There’s a lot of things to feel sad about so here’s something lovely. This place and the people are a joy! @chocandcouk is a not for profit cafe that not only has a #payitforward scheme but also works with those experiencing addiction and former prisoners providing employment and support that goes way beyond a wage packet.

"The lovely Linda, who was inspired to set up the cafe after the death of two of her friends to addiction, told me ‘It’s not ‘them and us’ we all mess up in one way or another every day, but we dust ourselves off and start again. There’s a lot of love here.’

"She’s right, and the hot chocolate is the best I’ve ever tasted.

Drop them a follow or better still go and visit, you’ll be glad you did."

Linda said it was "a joy" to have the visit.

As did cafe worker Kierin Barson, 21, who has spent time homeless and in a hostel after leaving care, before joining the team at Chocolate & Co. He said: "Kate's visit made us feel nervous and excited but created a lot of good vibes and excitement and a brilliant atmosphere. It made us feel proud of what we are doing at the cafe."

Kate took part in the cafe's 'pay it forward' scheme, where customers can 'buy' food or drink for another customer. Chits are posted on a notice board for people to use as needed.

Linda said the scheme was proving popular: "It's flying thanks to people's generosity."

She added the cafe was doing well since it opened just eight weeks ago with new additions to the menu such as week-day specials. "This week we had a pulled-pork sandwich and also a rare beef Yorkshire pudding wrap."

Sheffield-born Kate was in York for a media project, currently under wraps, said a spokesperson.